Background to the Ryman Healthcare appeal
In 2016, Ryman Healthcare’s plans for a large retirement village in the Ngataringa Bay area of Devonport were considered by three independent commissioners appointed by Auckland Council. 330 mainly local people submitted against the plans, and 75 for. Ryman’s plans for the site include a six storey building, 600 beds and 300 car parks.
In January 2017 the commissioners voted 2 to 1 to give Ryman resource consent approval to build.
Many of the 330 people who submitted at the hearing had similar views on why the development should not have got consent, and they formed the Devonport Peninsula Precincts Society (DPPS) to coordinate their response.
The society submitted an appeal to the Environment Court in February 2017 based on its concerns that the development did not meet the intent of the new Unitary Plan for Auckland for Devonport. In essence, the bulk and height of the development would overwhelm its surroundings, and the design quality could be improved.
In March 2017 the society entered court-led mediation with Ryman Healthcare, a first-step in many Environment Court cases. The society hoped that agreement could be reached on some changes without having to go to court. The society did not wish to stop Ryman’s development, and acting on legal advice was realistic about what could and couldn’t be achieved through the appeal. The society’s aim was to have a development better suited to its surroundings, and aligned better with Auckland’s Unitary Plan.
Mediation was successful and in June 2017 the court ordered that the appeal was settled.
Effects of the appeal
As the first large-scale consent considered under the Unitary Plan, the appeal’s decision is likely to have ramifications for all of Auckland, and specifically for the five other precinct sites suited to large scale development between Hauraki and Devonport.
The appeal cost around $70,000 which the community paid for through donations and fundraising events. Full credit should be given to those people who worked tirelessly to see a better outcome for Devonport’s peninsula.
The community should never have had to take the legal action it did. As the successful appeal outcome showed, Auckland Council should not have granted consent to Ryman’s based on their proposed initial plans.
The society will continue its efforts to ensure that the Unitary Plan fulfils its obligations to the people and the environment of the Devonport Peninsula.
All the information you need on the case is on this site. But please contact us if you would like to join us or require more information.